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  2. Below is the prelude in C by Bach. It was one of 48 small pieces collectively known as The Well Tempered Clavier. The title page of the published manuscript has the following: "For the use and profit of the musical youth desirous of learning and for the pastime of those already skilled in this study". This collection of pieces (with 24 preludes and 24 fugues, each written in a key) are not trying to communicate a "theme" or "story". They are inventions and exercises following the prelude and fugal forms.
  3. Today
  4. I don't really agree with this. I've read several biographies on Bach (and own around 70 or 80 cd's of his music - he's probably my favorite over all composer) and by most accounts, he was a successful, accomplished, respected composer and well loved teacher and father (of over 20 children - 10 of which survived to adulthood - which was not atypical of the time). He was very much subject to the whims of patronage, as were all artists of his time, but he fared better than most. Another important point, and you should know this as a trained musician, is that much of Bach's music is not about conveying any particular emotion, and it's certainly not programmatic as was music in the late 19th Century. There are the cantatas, masses, motets, passions, etc., which set text (often biblical) to music, and in those works his music is written to support the emotion or tone of the text. But the sonatas, preludes, fugues, ricercars, passacaglias, fantasies, toccatas, etc. follow very specific musical forms (such as giga, sarabande, allemanda, etc.) . Polyphonic music (of which he was the undisputed all time master) is primarily an exploration and exposition of musical forms. He took these forms to heights never seen before, or since, but it's incorrect to listen to that type of music in the same way that you would programmatic music. And it's very much wrong to draw an overall conclusion about Bach's "sense of life" from any one prelude.
  5. This is very much the case. If a novelist writes a 400 page book of nothing but sadness and loss, or if the entire body of work over the course of his career is about nothing but sadness and loss, then you can draw some conclusions about that artist. However, his style, plotting, pace, etc., might still qualify his works as "great". But a novel, unlike painting, sculpture or architecture takes place over time. A novel also uses written language as opposed to a visual language and is much more capable of concisely conveying ideas. Too, a symphony, and certainly one that is programmatic, can convey a large range of emotions over time. No one would say that the 2nd movement of Rach's 2nd piano concerto is positive or up beat, but it of course sets up the final movement - and therefore it's somberness and sadness plays a crucial overall role in the piece.
  6. It depends on your personal interpretation. I can definitely imagine somebody looking at a sculpture and seeing the entire essence of life in it. By itself, an artwork cannot communicate anything beyond what it actually portrays. For example, Bach wasn't a particularly happy man, but he composed things like the very serene C-major prelude. But the fact that he chose to portray a very selective part of life, serenity, in spite of his overall view of life, does not affect the artwork with anything. The C major prelude cannot also convey: 'by the way, serenity is just a small part of life' - because it can't be derived directly from the musical elements. However, as a listener or viewer, you CAN interpret the C major prelude as 'just one part of life', or the Angel of Grief statue as 'not life as it is, just one part of it'.
  7. Courtesy of a left-wing news aggregator comes disappointing newsfrom the regulatory arena. The Republican National Committee has thrown its weight behind a proposal that would basically allow "organizations" to turn your cell phone's voice mail box into a spam folder: In a comment filed with the FCC on Friday, the RNC said it felt the telecom agency should clear the way for organizations -- including, apparently, itself -- to auto-dial directly to voicemail inboxes with prerecorded pitches. Failing to permit the practice, the RNC warned, could threaten the First Amendment rights of political groups. "Political organizations like the RNC use all manner of communications to discuss political and governmental issues and to solicit donations -- including direct-to-voicemail messages," the RNC told the FCC. "The Commission should tread carefully so as not to burden constitutionally protected political speech without a compelling interest. [bold added]Despicably, the RNC is pretending this is a free speech issue when it is, in fact, one of property rights and the right to contract. The right to freedom of speech is the most important right protected by the government. Without it, there would be no means of changing the course of our government for the better by rational persuasion. A close second is property rights, without which there would be no way for anyone to find an audience outside the range of his own voice. The fact that there is a government agency that regulates communication technology is bad enough since it violates property rights and the right to contract. And, yes, as the FCC once also did through the "Fairness" Doctrine, such an agency can also violate freedom of speech. This it does any time it tells the owner of any communication channel or device what to use it for (other than not to violate the rights of others, say, by fraud). To that extent, the RNC is correct, but please keep reading. The right to free speech is not the same as the right to a forum. I will defend your right to proselytize whatever you wish, but I will not tolerate you doing so in my living room, against my wishes. Hold your camp meeting elsewhere: I have no power to stop you, nor should I. Whether the FCC is exercising what Ayn Rand once called "censorship-by-displeasure" at broadcast license renewal time or is mandating that phone carriers open up the voicemails of paying customers to a flood of unwanted ads, it is making someone subsidize the transmission of someone else's free speech. Indeed, the fact that anyone has to worry about whether it will permit voicemail ads indicates that property rights (at a minimum) are not being protected. That is exactly the opposite of what government is supposed to be doing. This is nothing new. Some years ago, some conservatives were spotted pushing for "fairness" in internet search results. At least that time, no one was pretending that this was a push in the direction of liberty. This time, abuse of government power is being presented as if it is a step towards liberty. Indeed, under a free system, some carriers might offer plans, such a reduced rate for customers who are willing to accept such ads. But that would be entirely between carrier and customer by right. In no way should it be up to some third party whether the voice mail box you are paying for is free from political ads, inundated with them, or anywhere in between. This is what is so disappointing about the RNC's recommendation. The RNC stands to gain a captive audience by taking advantage of a state of affairs it ought to be helping overturn. (It adds insult to injury to call the method of ringlessly spamming a voice mail box "unobtrusive" (to whom?), particularly since many people need one to conduct their daily business.) That is, on top of the technological difficulties robocalls present, government protection of property rights in telecommunications is not what it should be. (And part of that is wrongly subsumed by FCC regulations or the threat of regulation.) The proper stand of the RNC would be to acknowledge that this should not be subject to government regulation, and insist on the FCC treating "ringless" voice mail messages as calls under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act until such time as the agency is abolished or better legal protection for the property rights of phone companies and their customers can be implemented. The last time I checked, I didn't sign my cell phone contract so I could pay to receive a bunch of unwanted calls and messages. (And call me crazy, but I bet you didn't, either.) We did it so we could communicate with others. Purposely calling others at random and without their consent is a form of trespassing. Rather than treating the right to have a phone and use it as one sees fit as a favor, Republicans should recognize those as the rights they are, and go about protecting them. -- CAV Link to Original
  8. I don't see that. I see how one might say it represents 'tragedy", but I don't see how it shows a tragic sense of life. It really does not show any tragedy though. It shows love and grief. More abstractly, it shows a valuer. With sculpture and painting -- unlike a novel -- one can represent only a very small snapshot of life. It is unfair say a sculpture says "this is life" in a broad sense of "this is the essence of life". It's more appropriate to think of a sculpture or painting as saying "this too is life". Personally, I would not want a sculpture garden filled with just happy sculptures: I could go to Disney for that.
  9. I am wary of saying any particular sense of life is malevolent. Or at least there are malevolent people, but a careful summation is difficult when you don't know a lot about a person's mental habits and routines. One thought I had is that some people go through a lot of adversity, so "dark" elements are familiar to them. Familiarity does bring about preferences, so this is okay. Then, if these people are benevolent, they will likely contemplate and appreciate how growing is still possible. That is all to explain some of my art preferences, and how I still also like extremely triumphant Romantic artwork. I do not think I'm a mixed bag of a person. What I mean is that there are a number of ways sense of life is benevolent. By merely thinking of thinking about benevolence, we lose sight of major human personality traits or interests, such as novelty, need for cognition, introversion, familiarity, etc. Benevolent people vary to different degrees on all these traits regardless of one's philosophy or ideas. Anecdotal support that explicit philosophy alters art preferences: Nietzsche used to adore Wagner and his music, then grew to hate it all, that work later on evoking irritated and angry emotions about anti-semitism, nationalism, and exaggerated art that's empty of meaning. I also recall a lot of changes in David Bowie, but these are the people I think of offhand. As for myself, well: I had a strangely strong aversion to "emo" music in high school around 2005. It was an emotion I didn't like. I can speculate, but I don't remember the feeling. After definite changes in my philosophy as well as a wider repertoire of music history knowledge, it became a preferred genre. Largely that philosophy was Objectivism, and other thinkers. I don't recall liking things less over time. Probably FPS video games. I like Harry Potter a tad less. I like how the His Dark Materials series seems better now, so I want to re-read it. I like abstract art more, but not a work like Pollock. Some horror movies are cool like Saw, and my morbid sense of humor is stronger. Roald Dahl stories are more appealing now, and I liked him since I was 9. I also like psychological thrillers more, especially those of people with a confused consciousness. Yet it's the characters who offer clarity that drives me to take it all in.
  10. Yesterday
  11. I don't mind explicit disagreement as long as it does not affect the spirit of the artwork. This reminds me of the fact that Ayn Rand's favorite writer was an avowed socialist - and he didn't hesistate to put that into his novels. But it can be annoying at times - it depends on how much the ideas are mentioned. I don't think it's far-fetched to suspect this. I'm actualy the opposite - my sense of life went through numerous changes. I can actually name three big trends that shaped it across time: mysticism (even though I became an atheist very early in life), bitterness and cynicism. By mysticism, I mean an avid study of things like Judaism, eastern religions, psychedelia, Eckhart Tolle, the primacy of consciousness, the world as a collective role-play/dream where nothing truly matters. By cynicism I mean flirting with determinism, evolutionary psychology (which I recently dropped entirely thanks to Objectivism - this alone has the power to wreck you inside like no other thing), the Red Pill community, moral relativism, Machiavellianism, even the Kantian idea of phenomenon. My current sense of life is pretty much a mixture of those two trends. The bitter period was during my teens. Some artworks stood the test of time, others - not at all. Out of the things I used to enjoy but not anymore, I can name (off the top of my head, not an exhaustive list): Some 20th century classical music. The kind that sounds like Jackson Pollock put into sound. I'm a classical musician, so we're exposed to that kind of stuff The Harry Potter series Japanese Heavy Metal Horror movies Certain romance stories - my annoyance stems most strongly from how innacurately they're portrayed from a real-life, psychological standpoint. The reasons I don't like them anymore pertain to changes of conscious convictions, of values, of knowledge, of technical standards. I'm in a period in life where various Objectivist ideas start to truly click in my head - and I find myself incessantly rethinking my approach to everything. It remains to be seen if this will have any effect on my sense of life. One thing that I always had in me was individualism - which is what drew me to Objectivism in the first place.
  12. Can I just say, to provide my own data point...? My experience is different. Those artworks I identified with strongly as a child or adolescent or young adult, I identify with still -- even though my conscious convictions have changed. And explicit agreement with my conscious convictions does not seem to be any crucial matter for me, with respect to my enjoyment of art; if there is implicit agreement, through technical or thematic matters that might be beyond my expertise to divine, then there is: but I do not need characters telling one another that "A is A," for instance, to enjoy them. I'm not trying to advance an argument here. I don't know what the sum of my experience means (if it means anything), only that it is my experience. It is possible that my sense of life was always suited to my present convictions -- and that, in fact, it was such in part that led me on the path I eventually found. But this sounds like a convenient and self-serving explanation to me, and I'm not yet convinced of it, and I don't know how I would suss it out any further.
  13. Quite apropos, Rand writes in The Establishing of an Establishment " "[e]verything produces the effect of déja vu or déja entendu." After reading the article again, I have to conclude that "Deep State" is little more than "Establishment" in camouflage.
  14. There are certain artworks that I used to enjoy, but are no longer appealing to me - because they clash strongly with my present convictions. So I speak mostly from experience. Yes.
  15. Well, as far as what a work means, there is meaning as far as what it means that doesn't vary according to who sees it, in the way that a word has meaning regardless of who said it. As long as some mind is able to think about it, of course. Then there's the meaning as in your emotional reaction to parts or the entirety of the work. I think we agree here on both, so I wanted to write it down to see if this is what you're thinking, too. An objective evaluation of art's denotation - as opposed to connotation of the elements and your emotional reaction - depends a lot on studying which styles and which details in a painting use which sort of focus. Generally, messier composition requires less focus, otherwise there will be detail. But there are so many ways to harness "messiness" that sometimes lead to clarity.
  16. Nicely resolved. Off topic if I might add this might be caused by the all too common conflation ( even when it is very minimal) of "objective" and "universal". What a work means presupposes a mind providing that meaning ... and it is separately objectively (not universally) due to the identity of the work and the identity of the one contemplating it. The above of course intended for those (such as NB and KP) who I think actually understand the difference between "objective" and "universal".
  17. To expand on the above. I think I misread your post because in part because I still had in the back of my mind this post of yours: Is it your notion that once you've "corrected" your "damaging" ideas, you will then not like particular types of works of art any more?
  18. I see that I misread your post. I apologize.
  19. Last week
  20. "What it is like to be a dog" can be imagined partially but never fully known because then the human knower would have to lose his conceptual faculty and no longer be an entity that knows things as humans know them. There was a humorous college poster back in my time which had the ultimate final exam questions on it. One of the entries was "Summarize all of human knowledge. Be brief, concise and specific. Compare and contrast with all other knowledge."
  21. The consensus of whom? An objective evaluation would require that you discover the aesthetic principles that apply to all art, then figuring out how they can be applied to each specific medium.
  22. Objectivity is not something determined by consensus. That would be the opposite of objectivity and would be nominalism.
  23. Or rather, the interpretation of any 'malevolent' artwork will be different for everybody, according to their own sense of life. For example, I get a mournful vibe from the Wolf's Rain song, but you stated that you don't sense anything negative about it. Similarly, One Hundred Years makes you see internal conflict requiring resolution, while to my ears it's just unlistenable noise. I see Schopenhauer's universe in the Angel of Grief statue, but SL sees a reminder of how important love is, and that it doesn't last forever. Is it possible to objectively evaluate an artwork? I think the answer is unequivocally yes. But even if you objectively concluded from studying the musical vocabulary and the lyrics of a song that its theme is the malevolent sense of life, it might still have a personal meaning to you that completely disregards or even contradicts the actual intention of the composer - or the interpretations of any other listener. And I see nothing wrong with that; artworks are a personal value. This is an article Ayn Rand refers to in Art and Cognition: Metaphysics in Marble.
  24. Psychology of aesthetics is a thing nowadays, so it's less mysterious than when RM was written. It's an area I want to study, as in work on profesionally. Anyway, I agree that it starts to look like armchair psychology based on what one is able to project onto another. There are trends, but when figuring out what your sense of life is, you must focus on the emotions you feel. You'd need to look at what you do when you feel that way. You'd need to classify a wide array of emotions you feel. It's nice to talk about explicit interpretations of what an artist creates, and what you see as valuable - but it says nothing at all as to the feeling the artwork evokes. I brought up Starboy to show that while we can interpret the song, it won't necessarily show malevolent aspects of my sense of life. Regardless of what the song means, the important part is how a variety of people react to the same thing. That sunny painting? It bugs me. It makes me feel torn, as if the scene is fake, as if I'm being lied to. The woman's face feels false. I sense nothing negative about the song you linked KP, and I saw all of Wolf's Rain a while back. Even if the -song- were malevolent, it depends on how you react and which part. Sure an artwork has a general sense of life unified for the creator who puts in every small and big detail on purpose. As a viewer/listener, I don't even notice all details, and often only react to portions. Then, the more versed or experienced I am with a medium, the more I seem to take in at once. Here's some top of the line dark stuff: The thing is, I feel a sense of internal conflict that needs resolution. Solving problems is big to me and huge in my personality. In a song like this, it is as if I see a problem and work to fix it. That is only a partial analysis of my emotion about that song. The degree of malevolence in any artwork does not always correlate with the malevolence the viewer holds if any. Not reliably at least.
  25. I agree that art, both in the creation and experiencing of it, stems from one's beliefs (and experiences). But when someone then tries to assess people morally or with respect to "sense of life" (including themselves) based upon their aesthetic preferences, or to assess the artist of an artwork, or to assess an artwork itself, along these lines, well, I have grown deeply skeptical of any individual's ability to do so. If I know that a person "enjoys Van Gogh" to use the thread's common example -- or any one of his works -- well, what do I know about that person (beyond the stipulated information) or how they relate to the art? Not a hell of a lot. If someone reads one of my stories and tries to infer my beliefs from it (and I have known people to try to do this), are they very successful? Not usually. Not more than those who try to infer my personality from the fact that I'm Gemini. Perhaps there is some technique or science here waiting to be discovered, but until such a thing is demonstrated, this all has the seeming of armchair psychology to me.
  26. This is the painting I had in mind while writing about the sunny landscape. It isn't a landscape per se - its focus is the woman, but you can perhaps see what I mean by saying that VG's sunny landscape is not a sunny landscape due to a very striking aspect: his style of portrayal. It's mildly malevolent, so it definitely both. I can revel in gloomy, sad artworks. I enjoy a dark foil in positive artworks and a positive foil in dark artworks. But I don't enjoy positive artworks without some ironic or gloomy foil. I'm certainly not malevolent all the way. Out of the two paintings mentioned above, I prefer the Van Gogh, though his style is not my cup of coffee. I agree with your analysis of Starboy. Either way, to illustrate what I mean by gloomy and happy-sad, here is a song that is malevolent througout (minus the instrumental breaks) and one that is ridiculously upbeat - but with a strong foil (I skipped the long intro). What the latter one betrays is not sadness, but a strong feeling of apprehension.
  27. Sure, but part of that is, perhaps, not knowing a lot about opera. Van Gogh probably is one example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_van_Gogh#/media/File:Vincent_van_Gogh_-_Wheat_Field_with_Cypresses_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg This is a sunny landscape. There is little reason to suspect he had an overall positive sense of life judging from his behavior and unstable mental health. As a non-painter, I don't know how to judge it besides "dreamy floatiness is important here". As a viewer, there are many unknowns. For a creator, there are fewer unknowns, but even then, how will I get down to what is my sense of life as opposed to an emotion as fed through sense of life? It starts to reach a point where more analysis is draining. It starts to become special science, e.g. psychology. I'll tease this apart. On the one hand, you are speaking of how your explicit ideas have been habituated. On the other, you are attributing your reaction to the bad ideas you held a while ago. Your philosophy sets the criteria for emotional abstraction, that is, classifying things according to the emotions they evoke (paraphrased from somewhere before page 33). But you may still be reacting through largely positive/pro-life philosophy. I believe you when you say there is a malevolent streak somewhere. The issue is if it truly is malevolent per se, or a result of searching for the good in the bad. Maybe it's both. Also, a written interpretation is not one in the same as your feeling and the depth there. Take this song I like a lot: I hear many reasons to say it is malevolent, even I can explain the malevolent vibes. But, my reaction to the song isn't a tragic appreciation for the starboy (the character who The Weeknd is singing as in the video). It's more that he fell from grace for doing wrong, the song captures what it means for bad people to get their just desserts. The feeling I get is like one I feel if a bad person has bad things happen to them. I don't feel as if I need to resign myself to living my life through force. What counts is how you feel.
  28. I've never seen a real-life example of this, but perhaps you can provide some? Also, it's tricky to imagine a succesful, happy person reveling in a four hour opera about a man being endlessly tortured by unachievable desires. I mentioned this in my initial post: ___________ I'm an avid collector of everything I like. From my extensive experience with art that I feel at home in, I can definitely say there's malevolent streak there. I've picked up and habituated a lot of damaging ideas across the years, and I'm gradually working to correct them.
  29. How do you know this? I mean, this is a simplification of symbolism, such that you seem to base this on the connotations you've learned. I don't really like sunny landscapes, while I prefer dark landscapes generally. If a person hated life, and painted a sunny landscape, would they actually love life? You would be best off saying that what you choose to paint shows something about a person. What it shows, well, depends on your knowledge of art. I can say I really like this painting: I can attempt to give reasons, but I am not a painter or art historian. I would be making guesses. This isn't to say "there is no reason", only that it's really hard besides some really general ones, like "peculiarity is seen as important". What do the swans suggest, the clouds, the weird trees? I don't know. Delving deeper is beyond my ability. By the way, you'd also need to consider the degree of liking when it comes to one's sense of life. Paraphrased from page 33, "one's sense of life is fully involved only when one feels a profoundly personal emotion page". I understand you are talking in broad strokes, so here is paraphrasing from page 43 to remind you of some ideas: "it must be stressed that the pattern is not so gross and simple as preferring happy music to sad music according to a benevolent or malevolent view of the universe" "it is not merely what particular emotion a composition conveys, but how it conveys the emotion" I want to remind you that Rand didn't say any two people shared the same sense of life, so there will be many variations of even positive senses of life. Sense of life described here is her theory, so it's worth noting this point. There may be a broad category "positive sense of life" with differentia allowing for variations of individuals in their background experiences. Why is this mildly malevolent? Sure, you describe it with these words, but it's hard to say that you aren't missing something or lack the conceptual vocabulary to say the sense of life captured. All you can do is say if you feel good or bad. Rand understood at least in RM how hard it is to judge your own sense of life, and how we can't really judge what sense of life another person has.
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